Joinder of Charges
The framing of specific and distinct charge in respect of every distinct head of criminal liability constituting an offence is the foundation for conviction and sentence therefore, section 233 lays down a general rule, that.
- There should be a separate charge for every distinct offence; and
- There shall be a separate trial for every such charge except in four cases as provided in Ss. 234, 235, 236 and 239
Perusal of S. 233 shows that the purpose of the enactment is to prevent embarrassment/difficulties to the accused is defending himself in respect of the charge or charges brought against him. However, at the same time, Legislature has recognized that when in a given circumstance no embarrassment would be caused to an accused in defending himself, he should be tried for more than offence in the same trial in order to avoid multiplicity of trials.
Three offences of the same kind with one year may be charged together
234 (1) Cr.P.C postulates that when a person is accused of more offences than one of the same kind committed within the space of twelve months from the first to the last of such offences accused person may be tried at one trial for any number of them not executing three. Sub-section (2) explains that offences are of the same kind when they are punishable with same amount of punishment under the same section of Penal Code or of any Special or Local Law. An exception to this rule is an offence u/s. 379 and 380 P.P.C as this is to deemed as an offence of the same kind.
Pre-conditions for invoking. 234 are:-
- That the offences must be of the same kind.
- That they must have committed within the space of one year
- That more than three offences should not be joined.
Trial for more than one offence:
Sub-section (1) of S.235, Cr.P.C the accused may be charged with and tried at once for every offence which has been committed in one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction. The expression “same transaction” has not been defined in the Code. A series of act can be regarded as same transaction when they are so connected together in some way in proximity of time, unity of place, unity of community of purposes or design, and continuity of action. The real and substantial test in determining whether several offences are so connected together so as to form one transaction depends upon whether they are related together in point of purposes or as cause and effect or as principal and subsidiary act so as to constitute one continuous act. Section 235 provides that if one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction, more offences than one are committed by the same parson, he may be charged with and tried at one trial for every such offence.
Offence falling within two definitions:
If the acts alleged constitute an offence falling within two or more separate definitions, the accused person may be charged with and tried atone trial for each of such offences.
Act constituting one offence, but constituting when comined a different offence
If several acts, of which one or more than one would by itself or themselves constitute an offence, constitute when combined a different offence, the person accused of them may be charged with, and tried at one trial for the offence constituted by such acts when combined, and for any offence constituted by any one, or more, of such acts.
When it is doubtful what offences has been committed.
S. 236 contemplates that where it is doubtful as to which of the several offences a person has committed he may be charged and tried together in one trial for all or any of such offences. As such s. 236 provides for cases in which it is doubtful what offences has been committed. It applies to cases in which the facts are not doubtful but the application of law to facts is doubtful. The import of this section is fully explained in the illustration. An accused is found to have committed an act which may amount to theft, or receiving stolen property, or criminal breach of trust or cheating. He may be charged with having committed all these offences or either of them.
Persons may be charged jointly:
239 Cr.P.C is the last exception to S.233. It authorizes a joint trial of several persons under circumstances specified in the section. Except in cases falling under this section, a joint trial of several accused persons renders the trial invalid. In order to attract the provisions of S. 239. The accused persons must have acted in concert to commit an offence.
The following persons may be charged and tried, together.
- Persons accused of same offence committed in the course of same transaction.
- Persons accused of same offence and persons accused of abetment, or of an attempt to commit such offence.
- Persons accused of more than one offence of the same kind
- Persons accused of different offences committed in the course of same transaction.
- Person accused of an offence which includes theft, extortion, or criminal misappropriation) and persons accused of receiving or retaining, or assisting in the disposal or concealment of property or possession of which is alleged to have been transferred by any such offence committed by the first named person or of abetment of or attempting to commit any such last named offence.
- Persons accused u/s 411 and 414 of the PPC or either of those sections in respect of stolen property the possession of which has been transferred by one offence
- Persons accused of offences relating to counterfeit coin.